As You Were #2: A Punk Comix Anthology About House Shows
by Ramsey Beyer, Mitch Clem, Steve Larder, Liz Prince and Ben Snakepit
The As You Were series continues with contributions from comic artists active in punk rock communities around the world, writing about the ever-controversial and ever-macho aspect of punk, The Pit! Continuing the charm, humor, fascination, and visual strike of the first issue, this collection matches the form to the feeling of punk rock itself and the insularity is transformed to create a familiar feeling. However, it's interesting to note that the male contributors tend to talk about the pit as a place of acceptance or actualized self-image while the female contributors tend to express their frustrations, dissatisfactions, and assaults at the hands of the pit. As with last issue, editor Mitch Clem is the exception and contributes the stand out, documenting his depression and emotional upheavals inside and out of the pit, manifested in one singular incident of collapsing during a Dillinger 4 show. "I find myself always saying the wrong things, ostracizing myself through stupidity. I've become afraid of public spaces; afraid of being noticed...I pretend to still be having fun, but my smile is a mask beneath which now grows a creeping despair." But even these expressions are probably so relatable to so many readers that it may come across as a slighter older version of their own story. While fear and feelings of nebulous acceptance plague other contributors, Clem nails it in a way that's earnest rather than humorous. There's the obligatory "I got old, the scene changed." stories and Ben Snakepit illustrates a DRI song. Ramsey Beyer contributes the final, near-show-stealing earnest contribution about the social empathy and scale that set punk apart from nu-metal and hard rock concerts in her teenage life. This necessary collection has a dozen other stories both fit for the young and the punk elderly!
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